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December 2011
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Odds and Ends

Some of these have already been discussed in comments, but are too good to pass up…

bullet image Priceless. Barney Frank Goes After George Will Over Marijuana Legalization On This Week

In quite a surreal moment, Barney Frank asked George Will his position on marijuana and if it should be legalized.

Will admitted that he was a supporter of the internet gambling legalization bill Frank has fought for in Congress, but admitted that regarding marijuana, he would need to learn more about its effects on the human body and how government would regulate it. Frank responded to the notion of marijuana being a gateway drug by saying “anything is a gateway to anything.” Will argued his position was a “quest for information,” and Frank asked how long it would take because marijuana has been around for a long time already.

Later…

Frank [interjected] to say that if Ryan and Will were arguing that big government is wrong, they should be intellectually consistent by not taking the position that government should prohibit people from doing what they wish to their bodies or telling people who they can marry or not.

I’m going to miss him in Congress.


bullet image There’s a really badly headlined article at the Washington Post (as noted by Malcolm) Latin American leaders fault U.S. drug users (the web page title is a bit better: “Latin American leaders assail U.S. drug ‘market’)

But the article points out some important things.

With transit countries facing some of the highest homicide rates in the world, so great is the frustration that the leaders are demanding that the United States and Europe consider steps toward legalization if they do not curb their appetite for drugs.

At a regional summit this month in Mexico, attended by the leaders of 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries, officials declared that “the authorities in consumer countries should explore all possible alternatives to eliminate exorbitant profits of criminals, including regulatory or market options.”

“Market options” is diplomatic code for decriminalization.

The complaints are not exactly new but are remarkable for being nearly unanimous. The critique comes from sitting presidents left to right, from persistent U.S. antagonists such as President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and from close U.S. allies such as President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, which has received almost $9 billion in aid to fight the cartels.

Naturally, the usual U.S. government officials say not to worry, we’re winning the war on drugs.


bullet image Nice piece by Bill Varble: Legalize pot: It’ll dry up drug cartels’ market, save forests

Of course, there is a sure-fire way to end the reach of drug gangs into Oregon’s forests: End pot prohibition. Just declare defeat in the pot theater of the War on Drugs and move on.

This has been clear to a growing number people for a long time, but now it’s truly an idea whose time has come.


bullet image Neal Pierce in the Seattle Times: President Obama’s puzzling silence on marijuana policy

Obama’s Drug Policy Office claims the drug war is over, replaced by a focus on shrinking demand, “innovative, compassionate and evidence-based drug policies.” But Obama has not once singled out marijuana — a substance arguably far less harmful to the human body than alcohol — for special consideration. Nor has he spoken to the harm to youth caused by 800,000 yearly arrests. Or moved to stem the billions of dollars a year spent on marijuana-related arrests.

This is clearly not the “change” Obama’s enthusiastic supporters of 2008 expected. And it’s deeply ironic. Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance notes that if local police departments had been enforcing marijuana laws as harshly in the early 1980s as many do today, “there’s a good chance a young Columbia student named Barack Obama could have been picked up — and not be in the White House today.”


bullet image Kevin Sabet continues to embarrass himself. In a letter to the New York Times, he complains about advocates attempting to bypass the government’s drug approval processes and using referenda for marijuana. He then agrees that the federal government is partially at fault:

The federal government could certainly speed up research into marijuana’s components by giving incentives to scientists who study the drug and loosening marijuana’s strict research requirements.

So who should we blame for that? We keep reading and at the end of the letter we see: “The writer was an adviser on drug policy in the Obama, Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.”

So he was the federal government. Ah, I guess his message is that we should be patient because now that he’s left, the government will become competent.


bullet image Breaking: Congress Votes to Kill People

Shocking headline, but true, as Congress votes to restore the ban on funding for needle exchange programs.

Congress’s action this week means misery and death for large numbers of people. As the eight federal reviews of the research on this issue demonstrate, needle exchange programs reduce the spread of HIV without increasing the use of drugs. According to the Harm Reduction Coalition, needle sharing by injection drug users accounts for 8,000 new cases of HIV and 15,000 new cases of Hepatitis C each year. Of course the diseases spread from them to other people on occasion, including people who have no involvement in illegal drug use. As HRC points out, New York City has seen a 75% reduction in new HIV cases as a result of instituting such programs, according to a 2005 study.

Must read: Clean Needles Saved My Life. Now Congress Wants to Ban Funding for Needle Exchange by Maia Szalavitz

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64 comments to Odds and Ends

  • Matthew Meyer

    I was expecting more good drug war journalism from Maia Szalavitz. What I got was an extremely powerful personal testimonial from a former IV drug user.

    Sheepishly I confess surprise that a writer for a national publication like Time would have this kind of biography.

    Really, really cool.

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    • Maia is one of the best voices we have in the media, her article definitely clues us in as to the why of her eloquence… bravo Maia, a hat tip from this oldman (nick nack paddy-whack).

      Something her article points out to me is the absolute neanderthalness of this era’s “moral watchdogs.” As in…

      …one of the great advantages to our long relationship w/ Miz Linda was that she provided every script these nutbag excremental prohibitionists use. Her railing against needle exchange would have been hilarious were it not so sadly inept and insane.

      We like to think that today’s world is the pinnacle of all that has been with humans. We’re so modern and hip… pshaw… we are little removed from a band of apes screeching in treetops (not to dis today’s monkeys and apes). We allow ourselves to be dominated by the loudest shriekers, even tho’ they make the least sense.

      I’m seriously afraid that our government is an ultra-constipated gas bag that, when the constipation loosens, will explode and collapse. I can’t help but always return to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil as the best metaphor for where we’re headed… decreased resources, failing technologies held together by bailing wire and duct tape and a bureaucracy that has become the be all and end all, the ultimate driving force that maintains a vise like grip on power.

      There is NO doubt needle exchange works. There is NO doubt that cannabis is an extremely useful agricultural commodity. Yet the controllers, the deciderers, parade the Linda’s (Calvina et al) of society in front of the masses as cheerleaders of the grand ballhoo… the chicken-littles of the new millenium. Killer rabbits indeed…

      When corruption and human incompetence become the leading forces in a society’s advance, that advance becomes a retreat, a baring of vulnerabilities too long ignored and a collapse of the foundation from structural rot.

      W/o consideration we gambol about, entranced by the glittering googaws, hypnotized by the sleek and graphic facades and intoxicated on pretense alone…

      Collectively I think we’re screwed, unless we collectively get it right.

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  • kaptinemo

    From the second article, a bit of badly needed bitch-slapping from the victims of US hubris:

    “At the summit in Venezuela’s capital this month, Ortega suggested that the group “monitor and rate” anti-drug efforts by the United States, just like the U.S. State Department does for the region.

    That’s it. The US always gets on its’ moral ‘high horse’ on this subject, but because of its’ own past as a drug dealer, that moral ‘high horse’ is about as far off the ground as a quad-amputeed dachshund.

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  • Father Satan Creator of the Universe

    The hypocricy shall be revealed and the holier than thou holy smolies crying like the liberals they despise about drug abuse while high on prescription meds and politically correct alcohol (oh the irony) shall be thrown into my lake of fire. Don’t fuck with the infinate.

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  • Francis

    Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure that George Will has made some pro-legalization noises before. At the very least, you can tell he recognizes which way the wind is blowing. Support for continuing prohibition will become increasingly untenable, as will his lame attempt at a straddle. I would not be surprised if he comes out firmly in support of reform in the next few years. He’s certainly laying the groundwork for such a move.

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    • darkcycle

      Or…he could be waiting for the next prohibitionist argument to come along, so he can latch on to that and claim “This is why…”

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    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      You know, I’ve been trying to recall why I thought Mr. Will had written some stuff that was at least on the friendly side. But really, the “gateway theory”?? One has to be a certifiable moron to lend any credence to that piece of brain dead “reasoning”.

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      • darkcycle

        Naw, George isn’t a moron, he’s a smart, cynical tool of the elite..he’s just hoping against hope that the “Gateway” apple hasn’t fallen off the tree yet. There may be some out there still willing to believe it, and in the absence of a quick (well, any) answer he grabbed at it. And the whole “waiting for more evidence” is just a device to put the conversation off of a bow-tie rumpling issue. Poor George.

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        • Duncan20903

          .
          .
          Before those rotten profiteers at Time went pay per view of their archives I used to enjoy linking to their article discussing the AMA’s position on pot, which boiled down to “we need to do more research yadda yadda yadda.” I’m of course referring to the Time article “The A.M.A.: Marijuana Warning” published June 28, 1968

          http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,841337,00.html (subscription required for more than a tease)

          Just how many decades do they need before they even start to do the research? Or is it just the fact that it’s an argument with too much resonance to screw up by actually doing the research?

          Seriously, there needs to be a time limit on lame arguments. No breathalyzer? Tough shit, I first heard that argument in 1976. You’ve had your chance. That’s 35 years that totally lame argument has been working. Not enough research? Tough shit, you’ve been using that one since at least 1968. If you wanted research, 43 years is plenty of time. The scientists of the Manhattan Project invented, built and deployed the Atom Bomb in less than 3 years and 9 months. What’s your problem that you can’t invent a goddam breathalyzer/produce your fucking simple minded research when you’ve had 3 1/2 or 4 decades? Just how many decades do you expect to get to use these same lame excuses? Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble could have invented a pot breathalyzer in less than 35 years using a clamshell, some bumblebees, and a fricking baby mammoth for crying out loud.

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        • Francis

          Duncan, that my friend, was a truly epic rant. LMAO!

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        • darkcycle

          Duncan…you’re in fine form today!

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        • strayan

          Post of the year goes to Duncan20903

          …I’ve always wondered what the 20903 stands for too.

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        • darkcycle

          Strayan…it’s his zipcode.

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        • darkcycle

          …or the professor, out of an old crate, some seashells, and two coconuts.

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        • Duncan20903

          .
          .
          Hmm, I wished I had thought of the Professor instead of Fred. I had the Flintstones on my mind because for the last day and a half I’ve been trying to load a map update onto my Garmin. It’s an Öldi. Just for perspective I had to buy a new SD card because it seems 128 MB just isn’t enough nowadays.

          Where were you when I needed you little buddy?

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      • Francis

        Yep, I think this is what we were thinking of:

        Appearing on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, the Pulitzer-winning journalist and longtime icon of America’s political right declared that with President Barack Obama’s new policy which respects the states right to allow medical marijuana, the United States is “probably in the process now of legalizing marijuana.”

        He added that if there were to be a serious effort to fight the increasingly violent, powerful Mexican drug cartels, “you’d legalize marijuana,” the sale of which provides the gangs the vast majority of their funding.

        Here’s the video of Will’s Oct. 25, 2009 appearance. But also note the comment he makes at the very end of that clip:

        “There is one problem. And that is, if you talk to the federal drug czar, which I have done, marijuana is getting much better. They’re growing it, and making it better in the sense that the active psychoactive ingredient is much stronger than it used to be.”

        Well, geez, better weed. That would be a problem, now wouldn’t it? And if the drug czar says it, well then it must be true. I think I may have to retract my previous comment re: Will’s intelligence.

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        • Francis

          “President Barack Obama’s new policy which respects the states right to allow medical marijuana”

          Well, there’s a statement that hasn’t aged well…

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        • Randy

          The old “this is not your father’s pot” canard coming from the liars at ONDCP and regurgitated by Mr. Will.

          Once and for all, higher THC content does not mean the drug is more potent! It doesn’t get a person higher than the pot of 30-40 years ago. All it means is that you get the SAME high on less pot. Or, more precisely, you get the same high on less pot just a little more quickly.

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        • I’ll give you an amen on that Randy…

          AMEN!

          and throw in a _hallelujah_ just for good measure.

          And there truly is the rub. We ARE the experts on cannabis. Duh.

          I’m surprised we don’t have separate bathrooms and drinking fountains for us potheads…

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  • […] Odds and EndsDrug WarRantIn quite a surreal moment, Barney Frank asked George Will his position on marijuana and if it should be legalized. Will admitted that he was a supporter of the internet gambling legalization bill Frank has fought for in Congress, but admitted that … […]

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  • Peter

    frank hits the nail on the head with the right wingers problem of trying to reconcile small government with the wosd. ron paul starting to good on that score if only hed get gov out of the womb. theres nothing libertarian or small gov about controlling peoples reproductive rights.

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    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      It would be nice if people would quit misrepresenting Mr. Paul’s position on reproductive rights. Mr. Paul thinks it isn’t the Federal government’s business. That doesn’t rise to the level of believing that abortion should be illegal. At some point people have to learn the difference between the States and the Feds. There’s nothing cogent in claiming a lack of a Federal law is “controlling” people’s reproductive “rights.”

      It’s absurd to think that if the Feds backed off that we’d return to the days before Roe v Wade.

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      • Brandon E.

        *Dr. Paul

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      • Peter

        you dont think states like louisiana would ban abortion if they could? pauls strong oposition to abortion is on record.

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      • Duncan20903

        .
        .
        I stand corrected. I’m not sure why I had the impression that he had such a limited position on the ownership of the body issue but it sure seems that the likelihood of my being mistaken is inversely proportional to just how certain I am of something.

        BTW, it’s much more likely that I’ll write in Don King or Trump than vote for Dr. Paul. Realizing that he’s a proponent of governmental intrusion into people’s bodies didn’t cause that but it sure does all but insure it.

        PS if I were King for a day I’d schedule an up or down vote on the issue, no men allowed to vote because its none of their concern, and any subsequent controversy over the issue would result in felony convictions and stiff prison terms for the persons promoting the controversy.

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  • darkcycle

    Counter Punch with a powerful appeal to the power of clemency and the pardon by Anthony Papa:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/19/clemency-and-restoration-in-new-york/

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  • Francis

    Over at nytimes.com: Should Teenagers Get High Instead of Drunk

    Interestingly, not one of the 5 “debaters” says that teens are better off using alcohol instead of cannabis. The closest you get is a “Hey, no fair!” from two. Here’s the first:

    Furthermore, I am always concerned about describing one drug as less “worrisome” than another. The science indicates that for adolescents, regular and/or heavy use of either alcohol or marijuana is detrimental. Regular adolescent marijuana use is associated with schizophrenia development, suicidal behavior, verbal and spatial memory deficits, executive functioning abnormalities, and a variety of health problems in adulthood. Judging whether regular and/or heavy adolescent marijuana or alcohol use is more detrimental seems imprudent, when the evidence indicates that such frequent use of either substance by adolescents is a significant problem.

    Good point, I mean you can’t compare relative risk! Dangerousness is a binary condition. Is letting your kid play Russian roulette “more dangerous” than letting him play pee wee football? I don’t know. What is the sound of one hand clapping? Those kind of questions can’t be answered.

    And here’s the second on “drugged driving”:

    After alcohol, cannabis is the drug most frequently found in the system of drivers in crashes.

    We should not feel that teens are safer stoned than drunk. Why would we want anyone with diminished skills, either as a result of cannabis use or alcohol use, operating a machine made of two tons of steel?

    Well, that logic is unimpeachable.

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  • again thanks to Tom and the good folks at Leap for this one at policemag.com:

    In Praise of the Unreasonable Cop

    But whatever one’s take on the war on drugs, it makes sense to hear both sides of the equation. And who better to hear from than the men and women who man those front lines? Who better to speak than people such as Miller and Gonzalez?

    One would hope that such dialogues would be encouraged. That men and women who have their pulse on the situation would be in a position to analyze where it’s at and where it may go. After all, we don’t want a bunch of damn cookie-cutter types running around with guns and badges who are incapable of thinking for themselves.

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    • darkcycle

      Open comments at that site. They deserve Kudos.

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    • wtf

      “In support, when I applied for the Portland, Oregon Police Bureau I was declined on the basis my I. Q. was too high. I wasn’t dumb enough to be a cop.”

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      • darkcycle

        YES! it is true..some departments believe that people who are highly intelligent are less likely to stay on the job! The are afraid these folks are just biding their time ’till somthing better comes along. That should give you some indication of how the brass that controls the rank and file feel about them and the jobs they do. Sick, no?

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        • Windy

          I’ve used this sig line at site for years now:
          As for the intelligence of cops, they will be denied admission to the ranks of law enforcement if their IQ is too high, the statists want the cops to be dumber than most of society. Smart cops might question the things they are expected to do.

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  • darkcycle

    The hits just keep on coming. That wall’s starting to look quite alot worse for wear these days, eh, comrades?

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    • yeah… frayed edges and bricks bailing. I think hard hats are a full time requirement these days working around the WOD wall.

      There is something to be said for having the upper wwweb hand…

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  • darkcycle

    HOLY SHIT!!!! Did SWEDEN just legalize the weed?! Serious shit alert!!
    http://justpaste.it/Sweden_Legalizes_Cannabis

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    • darkcycle

      …what was that about frayed bricks again, Allan?

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    • sorry komrade.. is capitalist hoax… hoax rhymes with jokes and it appears this is just that.

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      • 5minutesOfPathologicalEuphoria

        .

        The date of alleged implementation gave it away immediately: April 20th

        “I am sorry but what the fuck? I live in central Stockholm and I haven’t heard shit about this?” commented one Reddit user. “I haven’t even heard if there’s a discussion about legalizing it. Looking at the top 5 Swedish newspapers’ websites I see nothing but Saab and Kim Jong-Il. I’d be happy if someone proved me wrong but there’s no doubt in my mind that these facts are wrong.”

        http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2011/12/sweden_legalizes_cannabis_story_is_just_a_hoax.php

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        • darkcycle

          Yeah, well, glad I could give you five minutes. I had the feeling that it was too good to be true. Didn’t have the energy to follow up on the story last night. I’m in the throes of the plague, consumption and small pox, all rolled up into one very nasty cold virus. I cannot control my bodily excretions. I want to die. Uggggggg.

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        • BasorexianAbderianOutburst

          It’s cool; My wife was quite amused watching me dance around our living room for 5 minutes while singing the Swedish National Anthem. Then I suddenly thought, maybe I should try and find the original source … Oh poooop!!!

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    • darkcycle

      Bummer.

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  • thelbert

    that’s some merry news for chistmas. i just hope it turns out to be true. merry christmas, everybody on the couch

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  • palemalemarcher

    The house of reprehensible has according to media accounts, and despite court rulings have tacked on drug-tests for benefits in an omnibus piece of legislation. They are indeed, faithfully following point 13 of the NSM’s 23 point program.

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  • palemalemarcher

    http://www.nsm88.org/25points/25pointsengl.html Link to point 13 of 25. My error, it is 25 points. Just what society needs in a depression!

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  • Wazzed&Blasted

    “In the future, when we are victorious and all drugs have been completely vanquished from the earth, you will all be placed on a closed-system and taught to sing: We Are The Happiest People On Earth”

    Life inside another dystopian bubble

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    • darkcycle

      Wow. The absolute, total, mindnumbinng stupiditiy of marijuana prohibition, in all it’s absurdity and it’s nuance is displayed in that piece. It’s a masterwork. Best part is the ending…where the guy is spared jail because he has begun using addictive narcotics.
      That is fucked up on so many levels.

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      • Wazzed&Blasted

        and, unlike most of the other articles at news.comau, there are no comments allowed. – No prizes for guessing why.

        This also seems to be the case with the rest of Australia’s media. If anybody comes across an exception to this rule then please let me know.

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  • ezrydn

    I’m going to go againt all that is correct and proper here by wishing all of you a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May Rudolph’s nose light you way in the upcoming year and lead us to Victory. I’ll be thinking of all of you as the presents are opened. I’m proud to be considered worthy to be numbered amongst you ranks.

    Suck on THAT lemon, Congress!

    And for you lurking Prohibs, a ghastly cold chunk of COAL most befitting your rank in life.

    A buddy and his family has invited me to Vallarta for a few days. Yeah, as in Puerta Vallarta, about 140 miles west of me

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    • BasorexianAbderianOutburst

      To you too Ezy!

      May I wish all you great people a very green & merry Xmas and may your buds win prizes in 2012!

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    • Windy

      Whatever reason one has to celebrate this time of year, pagan, secularist, Christian, Jew, I wish you a life free of fear, and all the best to all of you. Festive Yule, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy Hanukkah!

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  • Matthew Meyer

    Just want to make sure those on Pete’s couch see this NY Times “Room for Debate”:

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/12/19/should-teenagers-get-high-instead-of-drunk

    The more alarming of these six pieces are nicely fact-lite, and I don’t see anywhere to comment.

    But a couple of the writers are talking about reality, especially McNamara.

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  • darkcycle

    Well now, wouldn’t this be something??
    http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/ron_paul_projected_to_win_iowa_20111219/
    It’s Nate Silver, the wunderkind making this prognostication.

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  • claygooding

    If the republicans would run a Paul/Johnson ticket,,I would vote Republican for the first time since Regan,and he did such a thorough job of screwing middle America that I never went back for more.

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    • ditto on the Paul/Johnson ticket Clay… been feeling like that for awhile.

      my least fave Prez that Raygun one… wot a k-nucklehead. I like Nixon more than Ronnie…

      I was very active in the anti-nuclear weapons protests during his term. A local band in Fresno (hey, it’s better than Bakersfield!) (and I’ve lived there too…(, the Mojo Symphony had a song, Hey Uncle Ronnie, Why Don’t You Just Go Away that was an ass kicker. The band did a lot of benefits for us and other movements of the day… a very unique blue grass reggae. They had a 25 year reunion a cuppla years back… wished I coulda made it.

      Here’s a thought… that governor’s petition to reschedule? Gary Johnson (an EX-governor, but hey…) should add his signature to it and then challenge the other Repub candidates to sign on…

      And I’ll ditto EZ’s Christmas wishes for y’all… whether it’s Christmas or Hanukkah or Solstice… whichever… or nothing at all… to heck w/ the wod for a few days. Smoke a bowl or twelve… take a shot or two… enjoy your families (if you have a family you enjoy, of course…) and let’s hope 2012 is as big a year as it seems it might.

      Even tho’ it’s from the South Pacific Islands, my dad (RIP) had a toast he liked to use around this time… manu tuiasasopo…

      My dad was almost as big a smart ass as I am…

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  • thelbert halemanu

    as an old seahawks fan, i’ll see your manu tuiasosopo and wish you a happy dave krieg.

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